William H Bain

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: (Published 13 April 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h1959
  1. Murdo Turner

William H Bain (“Bill”) spent an active life as a cardiac surgeon in Glasgow. Apart from his tenure of a research scholarship in the USA, he remained in Glasgow for the whole of his professional career. He quickly progressed to a lectureship in the university’s Department of Surgery, presided over by Professor William Arthur Mackey.

The new specialty of bypass cardiac surgery was encouraged there, and one of Professor Bain’s assignments was to develop a heart-lung machine. At that time, this subject played a leading part in several surgical centres throughout the world, following the work of professors Melrose in London and Kirklin at the Mayo Clinic. The exchange of ideas and their practical application allowed Bain to produce—after extensive laboratory testing—a relatively safe bypass machine for clinical use.

At that time in the 1950s the predominant cardiac pathology …

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